Feruzi Mwero
 
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Feruzi Mwero’s Blog

 
 
 

Tag: L1 fracture

How I Helped Heal My Fractured L1 Vertebrae

As some of you know, on December 27, 2009, I fractured my L1 vertebrae while sledding at Mt. Charleston (40 miles or so outside Las Vegas). I, later, also discovered I fractured my L5, fractured my coccyx, and rotated my sacrum. Oh happy days!

As of today I can say I am probably 97% fully recovered. I continue to have mild pain around my tailbone if I stay in one position for too long — sitting, standing, or laying down. Occasionally if I push myself a little too hard in a workout, or do it wrong I may have some pain around L1 and tailbone for a little while, but it never lasts too long. Nevertheless, I am fully active, playing sports whenever I can — basketball, soccer, etc. — and working out with P90X. Since I’ve lost weight, nearly 50 pounds, I have decided to start a running regimen. My goal is to run my first half-marathon next year around this time.

None of what I am doing, or plan to do, was possible in the days, weeks, and months following my accident. So, here are the methods* I used to get where I am today.
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Physical Therapy Reveals My Rotated Sacrum

For the most part, at this point, I thought hearing anything new about my condition from the sledding accident of last Christmas would never happen. I thought all I had to look forward to was my slow, methodical recovery. Boy, was I wrong.

Since suffering the fracture to my L1 vertebrae, and later on hearing there was a slight deviation in my L5, a fracture and deviation to my sacrum, and another fracture to my coccyx — yes, all from the sledding accident — my recovery has been slow and steady, but also remarkable according to my primary care physician and the orthopedist. The addition of P90X, which I enjoyed for 5 weeks back in May 2010, also helped me greatly as many of the stretches and workouts encouraged recovery.

It was 2 months ago, early October 2010, that I noticed my recovery had halted. I was not on P90X anymore (at that point), but I had taken up playing indoor soccer for a team on a men’s league. The pain on my tailbone (coccyx), and lower back (sacrum and L5 vertebrae), was not any worse, but it was not any better then it had been a month prior when I peaked recovery. The tightness in my muscles around the L1 vertebrae were also about the same. Something had to be done. Something had to get me over this hump. Cherisse reminded me about physical therapy. So I called my doctor’s office and made an appointment so I could get a referral to physical therapy.
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L1 Fracture and My Recovery

This was originally an email that I sent on June 11, 2010, to a guy who sent me a message through the web site asking me about the recovery to my L1 fracture.

It has been just about 5 1/2 months since my accident. What I found out later, I think after I posted the blog, was that I had more then one fracture. The L1 was the worst of it, but I also had a small deviation around my L5 and a worse one on my tail bone (coccyx) right at the point of contact with the sacrum (which also had some damage). In short, it all amounted to pain when I sat down, sat down for too long, stood up, or stood up for too long. So, as you can see, what I thought was a simple compression fracture to the L1 was quite more then I could ever imagine.

My recovery started out slow. Ice and mainly heat were my best friends for a while. I work as a web designer/marketer both at home, with my own small business, and for a modular building company. Because the injury was rather intense I was not allowed to go to work, for the building company, nor work from home for them, like I would normally when I’m sick. The company’s worker’s comp insurance informed my employer that if he allowed me to work for them–and I turned around and sued them, even though it was not work related, but instead because the work made my injury worse–they would not cover him in the lawsuit. So, I was out of work for two months and relying solely on disability (55% of your normal pay here in Cali), and the few clients I had at the time. Even then, I couldn’t sit up for too long and I wasn’t able to recruit or turn out as much work as I wanted for my own business. It turned out to be a financial nightmare that I’m still trying to recover from.

Once I started work again, in March, I started doing more to really help my recovery speed up and possibly see myself at 100% (although the docs are a little skeptical of it). I slowly started walking more often–which was still painful after a while of maintaining a good pace–and walking further. The walking built up my strength and endurance enough to where I was finally able to start a good workout plan.

Recently, I started P90X. And, at the sake of sounding like a commercial, I could truly say that before I ordered the plan I was highly skeptical and suspicious. After two weeks, all I could say was that the program, coupled with good eating habits and quality supplements, was the best workout program I had ever done. My mobility, flexibility, strength, and endurance have all improved. Some areas have improved beyond what I was capable of doing way back in the day when I was in the best shape of my life.

Currently, I slacked off a bit from P90X because of overwhelming work and trying to handle planning a wedding. I plan to get back onto the work out [...] and see what more I can accomplish. I know if I keep up with it I’ll be back into shape, and lovin’ every minute of it, not too long from now.

I also plan to start some massage therapy and possibly acupuncture as well. My tailbone, although massively improved, is still bothering me and causing concern over a 100% recovery. The muscles around my L1 have a tendency to stay a little tight at times. The massage therapy might help to loosen it up a bit more.

Otherwise, I just went dirt bike riding a few weeks ago and I felt great during and after-wards even though I had a mini crash.

How I Fractured My L1 Vertebrae

The funny thing about it all, it’s really not that hard to fracture you L1 vertebrae. Here’s a list of all you need:

  • Friends (they come in handy after the accident).
  • Snow (particularly, hard-packed snow that hundreds have sledded on already).
  • A decent-sized hill.
  • An idiot to carve out a nasty jump by digging into the snow.
  • One thin plastic sled.
  • A little too much confidence in one’s self.
  • And tourists that run away at the first sign of trouble.
Quick Note: I updated my blog to include the exercises and stretches that helped me recover. Check it out! (Updated: 10/16/2011)

Yup, I had that entire list covered. And sure enough, as easy as it was, I ended up with a fractured to my number one lumbar vertebrae. I’ll explain all the medical stuff in a bit–but first, let’s take the list and turn it into a process. To do that it is probably best I tell you the story from the beginning. I’ll try and make this short since it hurts to sit up for long.

It all started on December 26, 2009, in Las Vegas, during my Christmas vacation, when a good friend of mine, Felipe Palitang, informed me that him and his friends had gone sledding recently (I think the day before–or before that–if my memory serves me correct). My jealous self could not resist the urge to ask Felipe if, we could find time the next day, maybe I could also join in the holiday fun, drive up into the snow, and go sledding as well. Felipe agreed. He thought it would be a great idea if we could get a few people together and just have some good ol’ fashioned fun in the snow.

The next morning, December 27, 2009, Felipe called me–waking me up–and confirmed he was ready and willing to head up into the mountains. I quickly texted as many people as I could to invite them up with us. By then end of the morning we confirmed our crew.

Felipe would take Timothy Mwero (my youngest brother), Branden Taylor (Tim’s best friend) and himself in his small, but rather comfy, SUV. I would take Amber Moore, Trinity Moore (Amber’s daughter and my God-Daughter), and Brandon Temple (Amber’s finance) in my rented Chevy Malibu.

Felipe and I agreed on leaving the area around 12:30pm, but by the time he stopped at Big 5 to pick up one plastic disc sled, and a plastic tobaggon, and by the time I figured out all snow gloves were taken from the stores, we left my house after 1:00pm. Felipe followed me as I headed over to Amber’s place where we picked them up. After which we headed to another Big 5 Sporting Goods–on our way out of town–where I found myself a pair of snow gloves. We were now ready and excited to go play in the snow.
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